What Grows Best Hydroponically?
Hydroponic farming is a technique of growing plants with water and nutrient-rich inorganic substances but without soil. The plant roots stay suspended in the air and are bathed in a nutrient solution. This may sound strange to some, but hydroponic gardening is one of the most popular methods for home gardeners who are trying to grow their food or flowers organically.
Now you may want to know what type of plants thrive best under this method? Well, it depends on the goals you are trying to achieve! If you are looking for vegetables and herbs that can be harvested quickly, basil, lettuce, and spinach are good choices. However, if you have more time to invest, then tomatoes will do well too. For those who want to grow flowers, carnations, and catnip are wonderful options.
If that got you interested in the future of farming – hydroponics, then we have compiled a list of all the best hydroponic plants you can grow. This post will provide you with plenty of information you need to know for your hydroponic systems.
Best Plants to Grow with Hydroponics
You can grow a wide array of hydroponic plants including vegetables, fruits and flowers. Some of the prominent ones are mentioned below:
Lettuces are the perfect ingredient for a salad or a sandwich. They grow quickly and can be grown in any hydroponic system, including NFT (Nutrient Film Technique), Aeroponics, Ebb & Flow, etc. Lettuce is not only fast-growing and easy to grow, but you can also plant several varieties to make any salad unique (including butterhead or romaine).
Tomatoes are a popular fruit and vegetable that can be grown hydroponically. It is not only the perfect topping for your Margherita pizza but also a wonderful plant to grow in such systems. You can sow different types of tomatoes, from traditional to cheery and more. However, they require a lot of light, so be prepared to buy some grow lights if you want to plant them indoors.
Kale is a delicious and healthy vegetable, but it is not the easiest to grow in soil. However, when planted in a hydroponics system, farmers can harvest a higher yield in less time as all they need is a special ingredient: water. Note that people have been growing kale hydroponically for years now, so there are many great resources out there to guide you.
Cucumbers are often grown at home gardens and in commercial greenhouses. They enjoy a rapid growth rate, which leads to high yields of cucumber crops. There are several types of cucumber, including the thick-skinned American slicers; long, thin-skinned, seedless European; or smooth-skinned Lebanese cukes for those who want less work on their hands.
All the varieties can be cultivated as warm plants, so make sure you provide enough heat/light when necessary.
While other plants require a lot of light, spinach can grow in any environment. A cool plant that can be eaten raw or cooked, spinach grows best in water-based systems. You can either harvest all the leaves at once like a bouquet from your garden or enjoy up to 12 weeks of consistent harvesting under good conditions.
Beans are one of the most productive vegetables you can grow hydroponically. For green beans or pole beans, trellises are necessary for support. However, you can also grow pinto beans and lima beans. The germination process takes 3 – 8 days before harvesting begins after six weeks which means your crop will last between three months up until four.
Radishes are a vegetable that can be used as flavourings in other vegetables. They require minimal nutrition and are therefore perfect for hydroponic farming. As the plants grow quickly, you might even see seedlings within 3-7 days. Growing radishes hydroponically is economical and has a high success rate. They thrive best in cool temperatures without any lights needed.
Herbs you can grow Hydroponically
In hydroponic farming, basil is the most grown herb. The medicinal plant can be grown in an NFT or Drip system. Once they reach maturity, trimming should happen weekly to keep the basil healthy. It also requires ample light; a minimum of 11 hours. However, if you do not provide sufficient lighting, growth will slow down significantly leaving the plant stunted.
You can grow chives from a plant in a hydroponic system, and it will be ready to harvest within six to eight weeks. Under standard growing conditions, you need about 3-4 weeks before the plants are fully grown again. Chive requires lots of light; 12 hours every day is best. So get them under sunlight as much as possible.
Mints are such versatile plants. They can grow in soil or water, and their oils provide a refreshing flavour for food and drink, as they have aromatic compounds that help freshen your breath. Their roots spread quickly in soil or hydroponics, so it is easy for them to grow in just about any environment.
Fruits you can grow Hydroponically
Thanks to hydroponic farming, strawberries are now available all year round. These are undoubtedly one of the most widely grown plants in commercial hydroponic production. Commercial farmers grow them in large-scale NFT systems worldwide.
Strawberry plants thrive when they grow over water, and their roots hang down into it–thus making them perfect candidates to be planted indoors with a hydroponics system or outdoors.
You can start peppers hydroponically using the same growing conditions as tomatoes- warm temperature and large amounts of light. Peppers often take up to two to three months to mature, so make sure you plan ahead.
Recommended varieties for hydroponic farming are Jalapeno, Habanero which produce hot peppers; Mazurka, Cubico (for sweet), Nairobi, or Fellini, depending on your preference.
Blueberries are an excellent fruit for hydroponic farming, but they take longer to bear fruits than strawberries. In blueberry cultivation done with an NFT system, the plant takes up less space and yields better quality produce.
Blueberries also grow well from transplants instead of seedlings because seeds often have low germination rates. It is best if you buy your plants already set into their pots or plugs for transplanting!
Flowers you can grow Hydroponically
Carnations are not only the most popular flower in bouquets, but they are also one of the easiest to grow with hydroponic farming. With enough light, one can make an extra buck by growing these flowers.
Catnip is great for stress and digestive relief. It is a relative to mint, which can be used in herbal tea or other food recipes. You can harvest leaves from this bushy plant anytime you want without worrying about them not being replaced any time soon due to their rapid growth rate in the hydroponics system.
Chamomile flowers and leaves have medicinal properties that make them a popular plant for home remedies and tea. The herb prefers to be in moist soil, so hydroponic farming is perfect. The term “hydroponics” is derived from chamomile’s name. It can also do well with just sunlight or grow lights, too, since they give off less heat than an indoor kitchen would.
The Benefits of Hydroponics
Hydroponic farming has several benefits to its name, such as;
Hydroponic farming takes up less space as compared to traditional agriculture. With vertical farming techniques, these systems can use almost 99% fewer lands than typical growing methods.
Hydroponic gardens can use far less area than traditional ones because there is no need for nutrient soil spread out across wide distances. Instead, the roots get what they need directly without any time or energy spent on looking around.
Hydroponic gardens are an excellent solution for those who want to grow food without the burden of traditional farming. They allow creating microclimates and control pests naturally. At the same time, in hydroponic farming, plants are provided with artificial grow lights to grow year-round irrespective of the weather patterns or climate.
Growing plants hydroponically demands less water than traditional soil. The hydroponic plants can grow with up to 98% less water. Only 10% taken up through a plant’s roots is used by the plant itself. The rest is released into the air via evapotranspiration.
Hydroponic systems make use of recirculated waters. It is an innovative technology that leverages more autonomy to people over how they grow their crops. And it happens without risking nutritional deficiency or causing death due to seasonal fluctuations in weather conditions like droughts.
Produces much higher yield
The hydroponic farming greenhouses produce the highest yielding crops in comparison to other farming practices. The roots of plants are directly exposed to nutrients, which allows constant nutrition delivery for year-round growth and a faster crop cycle time. It is noted that the hydroponic greenhouses can produce nearly 240 times more yield than traditional farms.
Growing plants hydroponically is an excellent way to save money, space, and time. They can be grown in any climate or season year-round without the need for soil. The only disadvantage of this technique is that it is difficult to choose what plant will grow best because of all the variables involved with each case. Now that you have a list of the best plants, get started with your hydroponic farming.